And: the SignTeach Recommendations. What can we do to improve the status, the working situation, and the training opportunities for sign language teachers in Europe?
00. Work in progress!
Work in progress!
We published the SignTeach Survey, August 25, 2015.
The main objective of the SignTeach Survey is to raise awareness and to start a discussion about the needs for training and professionalization of sign language teachers:
- Who teaches sign language in Europe?
- Some information about the work of the respondents: How many hours do they teach, who do they teach, what materials do they use? And: if they could make 3 wishes for their work, what would they wish for?
- Some information about the training the respondents received: How much training? Who by? And: if they could make 3 wishes for their training, what would they wish for?
- What wishes do sign language teachers have, for their work and for further training?
- What good examples, good advice do they want to share, and: what barriers, problems do they have to cope with, in their country?
Awareness, discussion and then, hopefully, national and international initiatives and further collaboration to promote sign language teaching and to support sign language teachers in Europe, and world-wide!
- At this point (June 2018), 243 sign language teachers from European countries have completed the Survey. This is only a small percentage of the sign language teachers in Europe. We have not had any responses from some countries. From other countries, we have had only 1, or a few responses. As a result, we do not know if the results that we report here, are representative of all sign language teachers in Europe.
- The SignTeach Survey is in written English and International Sign. Many sign language teachers cannot use these languages fluently, or at all. As a result, some respondents may not have understood all questions. We see that some respondents did not answer all questions, maybe because they did not understand the question, or the alternatives? Other sign language teachers may have decided not to answer any questions, because of language problems. Therefore, the results may not be representative of ALL sign language teachers in Europe.
Because we know that the data from the Survey are not as hard as we would have liked them to be, we have not tried to do any sophisticated analyses of the results, e.g. comparing hearing to Deaf teachers, or teachers with 10 years of experience to teachers with less than 10 years experience. We have not even tried to compare countries, e.g. country 1 versus country 2.
What we have done, is compare each of the SignTeach partners' countries to the average results of all respondents. We have done this for the partners' countries only, because we have the most results from these countries, and because partners can comment on the results of their country.
When we compare each country with the European averages, we have not tried to normalize the data. The European averages are the combined responses of 243 sign language teachers from 23 European countries.
Even with these reservations, the results of the SignTeach Survey are very interesting and very relevant. They are the first of its kind and clearly show differences between countries and between sign language teachers. Very valuable also are the answers to the open questions: what barriers do you have to deal with, and: what advice do you have for your colleagues?
On these pages you find the results of the SignTeach Survey. Comments and recommendations will be included in the Report that we plan to publish in the second half of 2017.
March 2017, Liesbeth Pyfers, on behalf of the SignTeach consortium
01. Number of Responses
Number of responses: 243
Not included: Other countries
- Australia (1), Chile (1), China (1), Costa Rica (1), Liberia (1), South Korea (1), Turkey (1), USA (2), not specified (1)
Respondents who indicated that they do NOT teach sign language.
Number of Responses: 21
Number of Responses: 16
Number of Responses: 32
Number of Responses: 4
Number of Responses: 25
Number of Responses: 34
Number of Responses: 19
Number of Responses: 24
02. Age of the respondents
03. Hearing status
04. When did you first learn to sign?
We compared the age that Deaf vs. Hearing sign language teachers first learned to sign.
41% of the Deaf Sign language teachers are 'native' signers, they learned to sign before age 4, compared to 21% of the Hearing Sign language teachers. The majority of the sign language teachers - both Deaf and Hearing - learned to sign after age 4.